The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has given its approval for a modified version of the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service. As per an airworthiness directive issued on Wednesday, EASA is mandating the same modifications to the aircraft required by the FAA, which signed off on the MAX’s return to service in the U.S. in November 2020. Those changes include a package of software upgrades related to the MAX’s maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), electrical work to address wire chafing in the stabilizer control circuit and maintenance checks along with updates to the operations manual and crew training procedures.
“Following extensive analysis by EASA, we have determined that the 737 MAX can safely return to service,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. “This assessment was carried out in full independence of Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration and without any economic or political pressure—we asked difficult questions until we got answers and pushed for solutions which satisfied our exacting safety requirements.”
EASA has also issue a safety directive (SD) requiring non-European airlines holding EASA third country operator (TCO) authorizations to “implement equivalent requirements, including aircrew training,” before operating MAX aircraft in territories that fall under its jurisdiction. As previously reported by AVweb, EASA conducted its own flight and simulator testing of the model prior to granting return-to-service approval. The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after the fatal crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, and Lion Air Flight 610 on Oct. 29, 2018.